06. "Vs." by Pearl Jam
I don't know if many of you are aware of how much I love Pearl Jam. It's not a crazy stanning love, mind, but it is the purest brand of musical love I can muster. They have consistently been one of my favorite bands since I discovered them (along with the rest of the world) in 1992. I had a crisis of preference in choosing which Pearl Jam album to include on this list, which makes this an auspicious entry. Unlike some of these choices, this selection was weighed with intense consideration and immersion in the candidates. I rediscovered all of my favorite Pearl Jam albums in the process. I have chosen what I hold in esteem as The Best.
For so long I've touted "Yield" as my favorite Pearl Jam album, and in so many ways, it is. But when I look at other albums, and the emotion inside of the album, I have to knock "Yield" down a few pegs (regardless of it including two of my favorite songs by any band, ever: "No Way" and "Do the Evolution". I thought about tipping my hat to "Vitalogy", which blew me away in 1994 with its liner notes and its accompanying dark narrative core. But I just can't give this to the album I listened to the most.
The decision came down to a fight between "Ten" and "Vs." - not surprisingly, Pearl Jam's first and second albums, respectively. Now, "Ten" is full of nostalgia for me. Listening to "Jeremy" and "Evenflow" on my best friend's porch in 7th grade, all that goes along with discovering a band for the first time (falling in love with Eddie Vedder, mostly thanks to Sassy magazine...)
But then I flipped back and forth, listened to both albums again and again, and kept getting caught up on "Vs.". For the first time, I really went and dove into the stories behind the two albums. By virtue of sheer emotional content, "Vs." became the winner.
( I change by not changing at all. )
HINT FOR PART SEVEN: The most recent release on this whole list, and also the only album in the "R&B" genre... although its classification is debatable.